The Edmonton Oilers eliminated the Los Angeles Kings 2-0 in Game 7 at home on Saturday when star Connor McDavid scored and assisted the game winner.
McDavid had the primary assist for defender Cody Ceci’s second-half goal and scored his own insurance goal late in the third half as that first-round streak ended. With 14 points, McDavid is now the top scorer of the postseason.
“He’s the best player in the world. He’s shown that in the last two games,” said Star teammate Leon Draisaitl after the game about McDavid. “It’s not skill… I mean there’s obviously a lot of skill in him, that goes without saying. It’s the will. You can see it in his eyes. You can feel it on every shift that he’s out there. He’s determined There was just no way he or we would be turned down. He went ahead. He was incredible.
Edmonton goaltender Mike Smith made 28 saves for the shutout win as the Oilers capped the comeback of the series with straight wins from a 3-2 deficit against Los Angeles.
The last time the Oilers made it through the opening round was in 2017, which was the only time McDavid made an appearance in the second round.
“To get where you want to go, you have to go through moments like this,” said Oilers interim coach Jay Woodcroft before the game on Saturday.
Edmonton meets the winner of the other Western Conference Game 7 between the Dallas Stars and Calgary Flames on Sunday night, with a potential “Battle of Alberta” awaiting in the second round if the Flames are victorious. The provincial rivals last met in the playoffs in 1991.
The Oilers’ win was offset by a brilliant performance from Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who made 39 saves in the loss. The Kings have not progressed past the first round since winning the Stanley Cup in 2014.
Meanwhile, 40-year-old Edmonton goalie Smith scored his sixth career postseason shutout behind a defensive effort by Edmonton that held the Kings attack benignly all game. He previously blanked out the Kings in a 6-0 Game 2 win in Edmonton.
“We talked about playing our best game tonight,” Smith said at the SportsCenter. “We did that. They obviously made my work there easier.”
After a scoreless first period, the Oilers began to carry the game in the second frame, peppering Quick with shots. One snuck past him midway through the second period, but Kings forward Andreas Athanasiou kept it scoreless by sweeping back the slow-rolling puck from under Quick.
The McDavid line set up the first goal of the game. McDavid and Draisaitl cycled in the Kings’ defensive zone until McDavid found Ceci in the right circle to shoot past Quick. It was Ceci’s second career playoff goal in 43 games. Edmonton had a 1-0 lead at 13:15 of the second period, on their 23rd shot against the Kings keeper in the game. Edmonton would end up with 25 shots on goal in the second half alone, with Quick catching all but one of them.
It would remain 1-0 until McDavid struck with a 3:53 rule. He ran in on Quick only to be hooked by Kings defenseman Sean Durzi. When the referees signaled a late penalty, Durzi stopped playing to express his disagreement with the decision. McDavid continued playing and met Quick after collecting the rebound from his own shot attempt.
McDavid was brilliant on a night when fellow striker Draisaitl wasn’t 100%. He was considered a game-time decider due to an ankle injury, but played 22:38 and got the second assist on Ceci’s goal. After the game, Draisaitl said with a smile that he was “fine”.
The Kings had their own injury problems on the series. Forward Viktor Arvidsson, their fourth-best scorer, missed the entire series with a lower body injury. Star defenseman Drew Doughty also missed the series after undergoing wrist surgery in March.
It was the last game for Los Angeles forward Dustin Brown, a former Kings captain who is retiring.